The intimidating house, developed by VectorInteractive Studios, is a horror game set in the suburbs of Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. In the first-person horror survival action game, the protagonist must survive in an abandoned village by sticking to his instincts for courage and bravery.
The Daunting House is the first game developed by Indian game studio VectorInteractive Studios. The developers of The Daunting House presented an authentic representation of rural Indian culture while providing players with a thrilling adventure.
In an exclusive conversation with Sportskeeda’s Suryadeeepto Sengupta, VectorInteractive Studios co-founder Prateek Kumar spoke about The Daunting House and experiences of its development as an independent Indian studio.
Prateek Kumar, co-founder of VectorInteractive Studios, talks about The Daunting House
Well, everyone loves an origin story. So let’s start from the very beginning with how things took off for you and VectorInteractive Studios. How was the company born and how were the first days?
Prateek: While studying, we played multiplayer PC games like CS: GO and Halo in the hostel at night. Soon we heard about the Esports game contests and the E3 game launch event where AAA titles are released. We found that there were no games from India.
We researched the same topic and found out the potential of the global gaming market and how it was not being used in India. Additionally, there were very few games featuring India but lacked the proper flavor.
So we’ve decided to provide the world with our own long-term AAA titles, which will feature Indian culture, lifestyle, heritage and stories inspired by real events. We launched VectorInteractive Studios in March 2020, we teamed up and launched our first project – “The Daunting House”. We believe that making an AAA title is a journey in itself and THE DAUNTING HOUSE is only our first mile.
The Daunting House is an exciting journey that combines the true stories and incidents of a haunted place called Dagshai, located on the outskirts of Shimla in Himachal Pradesh. You and your team also designed the card game across the Himalayan terrains. What was the influence of the local culture and way of life in the construction of the game’s narrative? How did you plan the settings and the game map? Is there something special about the progression they have followed?
Prateek: In college, we heard a lot of stories about the mountains, especially the horror stories from our Himachali friends. These stories held us more and we wanted to try them for real and that served as a basis. Later, we did some research and figured out how to incorporate it into our game.
We have a teammate from Himachal Pradesh who is a travel vlogger and knows the terrain well. He also designed the same for the game. When designing the map we tried to keep a lot of things similar to the actual location like the church, train station, village gate and much more for keep these elements alive.
The Daunting House is not only a horror adventure where the protagonist has to rely on their instincts for courage and bravery, but it elevates the horror experience with elements of puzzle solving and mystery. What was the inspiration behind choosing horror as a genre to explore?
Prateek: The “Bhoot-wale” pranks in our hostel days were an indication that this genre is fun. And when we hear real horror stories in places nearby, it naturally got us hooked.
What was your experience, developing The Daunting House, as an independent Indian game developer? How do you think the culture of game development in India has changed over the past few years?
Prateek: We think game development is too much fun, whether it’s 3D modeling, programming, animation, or graphic design. We started working on our live project and continued to learn the basic concepts side by side.
In recent years, the market has exploded, leading more and more studios to create Indian-inspired video games, whether it’s another hyper-casual game or just a simple card game. .
In terms of PC games, there is a lot to offer, although they also come with huge risks as development takes years. I think it’s high time for game content creators to work with developers to bring out the magic and turn the tide of PC gaming.
Do you see The Daunting House as a potential starting point for a universe that could be explored further in possible future expansions, be it a DLC or a sequel?
Prateek: As we’ve just started to develop games, there are a lot of things that are currently beyond our reach. Whether it’s a lack of backend systems, premium texture design, motion capture, lighting, and many more.
So with the resources available, we tried to do our best. However, The Daunting House’s journey doesn’t end there. It will continue further into the future with a complete look and feel. So, yes, The Daunting House is definitely a potential starting point for a universe.
The Daunting House will be released on September 15 on Steam and itch.io for the Windows platform. Have there been any discussions about bringing the game to other platforms, whether on console or in the cloud?
Prateek: Yes, we will be bringing this to consoles in the future as well.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, many studios around the world have had to adjust to a work from home situation. How has VectorInteractive Studios coped with the pandemic? As your team focuses on the laser to deliver an amazing experience with The Daunting House, have you thought about the next possible project at VIS?
Prateek: VectorInteractive Studios was launched just weeks before the pandemic. The team members were already working remotely. Then this pandemic happened, which further delayed the team from physically working together. We worked full time from home and did almost 70% of the game development without meeting any team member in person.
After completing our first project, we have a rough plan for developing a multiplayer PC game.
Any words for aspiring game developers in India?
Prateek: We believe that the young people of our country are determining and very enthusiastic towards their interior vocation. Some continue to advance towards it and a few might doubt its reach in the future.
Over time, many game developers in India who started out as independent developers are doing very well in their field. Game Development and its sourcing from India have just started to do well and will thrive more in the near future. So it is only a matter of time and effort when Indian game developers make outstanding contributions to this industry.